All Articles Tagged "fertility"

Are You Going To Wait A While, Like Janet Jackson? Babies After 35 Are Considered High-Risk Pregnancies

October 14th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Hey moms (and prospective moms) over 35, are you afraid of having a baby this late in the game? Are you looking at Janet Jackson like, “I’m going to wait, too.” Or “How’d she do that?” The reason I ask is not for me (I had my daughter 10 years ago at 34), but I’ve been talking to my cousin whose last doctor’s visit was a bummer.  She told me she asked her gynecologist about having a baby at 38-years-old, and she told me that by the look on her gynecologists’ face, it didn’t appear to be a good idea. The doctor didn’t rule out getting pregnant. She just told my cousin that she has to think long and hard about the journey, and what that could entail.

The gynecologists views were tied to the fact that I had a high-risk pregnancy before, so facing the gun and trying to have another would not only increase my risks of having another preemie, but the pregnancy would be a health risk to myself as well. If you search internet forums, you will find many moms who had children well into their 30’s and 40’s. Wait! Some had children in their 50’s. And during those age ranges, many babies came out fine. So what’s all this hype about the dangers of late pregnancies? True, there are very real risks such as preclampsia, diabetes, high-blood pressure and very real birth defects. But if you follow the careful instructions noted by your doctor, such as monitoring your weight, taking prenatal pills, and sticking to all of your baby check up visits, chances are you are good to go.

If you are like me, and you are thinking about having another baby, a little later than most, WebMD suggests:

Get early and regular prenatal care. The first eight weeks of your pregnancy are very important to your baby’s development. Early and regular prenatal care can increase your chances of having a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. Prenatal care includes screenings, regular exams, pregnancy and childbirth education, and counseling and support.

Getting prenatal care also helps provide extra protection for women over 35. It allows your doctor to stay ahead of health conditions that are more common in women who are older when they get pregnant. For instance, your age may increase your risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure along with protein in the urine. During prenatal visits, your doctor will check your blood pressure, test your urine for protein and sugar, and test your blood glucose levels. That way, any potential problems can be caught and treated early.

Consider optional prenatal tests for women over 35. Your doctor may offer you special prenatal tests that are particularly applicable for older moms. These tests help determine the risk of having a baby with a birth defect. Ask your doctor about these tests so you can learn the risks and benefits and decide what’s right for you.

Take prenatal vitamins. All women of childbearing age should take a daily prenatal vitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Getting enough folic acid every day before and during the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent defects involving a baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking folic acid adds an important level of protection for older women, who have a higher risk of having a baby with birth defects.Some prenatal vitamins have 800-1000mcg(1mg)folic acid. This is still safe in pregnancy. As a matter of fact, some women need more that the 400mcg for protection against birth defects. Do not take more than 1000-mcg(1mg) folic acid.

If you don’t have any significant health issues, taking the steps towards preparing your body for the joy that pregnancy brings could be a breeze.

15 Facts About Freezing Your Eggs

October 13th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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Freezing one’s eggs is becoming increasingly popular. For many women, the ability to freeze their eggs means they don’t have to choose between having a child and…anything at all. They don’t need to rush to have a child when they don’t feel financially stable enough, all because the clock is ticking. They don’t need to have a child with the wrong person, all because he was up for the challenge of parenting, and be tied to him for eternity. They don’t need to have a child when, quite frankly, they’re not done being selfish yet! They still want the option to pack up everything and travel for a month if the inspiration hits. They still want the option to buy $200 shoes and not feel terrible about it. They still want the option to get a little too drunk on a Wednesday. And that’s okay. Freezing your eggs means you don’t need to choose between having a child, and everything else. But here are some things you should know about it.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Women do it for health reasons too

Women don’t only freeze their eggs because they aren’t ready to have kids; they also do so for medical reasons. Some women, for example, who have cancer have to freeze their eggs before undergoing chemotherapy, since it can damage their eggs.


New Study Claims Your Ovaries May Be Able To Grow New Eggs

October 12th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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A new study by the University Of Edinburgh has discovered that human ovaries may be able to grow more eggs in adulthood. If this notion proves to be true, it will discredit the theory that modern science has accepted as truth: women are born with only a set number of eggs and once they reach their mid-30s their eggs drastically decline before their bodies prepare for menopause.

According to Cosmopolitan, this study found that cancer patients who were given chemotherapy had a higher quantity of eggs in their ovaries than their peers who didn’t have cancer.

Professor Evelyn Telfer, who led the study told The Guardian: “This was something remarkable and completely unexpected for us. The tissue appeared to have formed new eggs. The dogma is that the human ovary has a fixed population of eggs and that no new eggs form throughout life.”

Initially, the purpose of the study was to investigate why the chemotherapy drug ABVD doesn’t cause infertility in cancer patients, proving that scientists and doctors alike have not fully studied how the ovaries work in the human body. But Professor Telfer states we shouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet. “There’s so much we don’t know about the ovary. We have to be very cautious about jumping to clinical applications,” she said.

Professor Telfer also noted that despite the promises of this new research, fertility clinics should not make use of it just yet.

Kenny Rodriguez-Wallberg who works as a senior consultant at Karolinska University Hospital, shared with the Guardian his own thoughts on the matter: “I think that these findings, and the identification of the mechanisms involved, may pave the way for development of new fertility treatments or extend women’s reproductive span by replenishment of the ovaries with new follicles. It suggests that the ovary is indeed a more complex and versatile organ than we have been taught, or that we expected, with an inherent capacity of renewal.”

The new eggs produced from cancer patients who were given ABVD appeared to be similar to the eggs pre-pubescent girls carry and are not necessarily fully matured. The Guardian also revealed that during the study Professor Telfer and her team were uncertain as to whether the eggs could be fertilized.

Myths And Facts About Ovulation

October 6th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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If you’re struggling to become pregnant, or you’re pregnant with your third child and that wasn’t the plan you might be facing some issues, from how you use birth control (or don’t) to your lifestyle habits like diet and alcohol. But one other major issue that can affect fertility—whether you want to become pregnant or want to prevent pregnancy—is having the wrong ideas about ovulation. If you count on your ovulatory schedule so that you can avoid taking the pill, use condoms, and hopefully still not become pregnant, then you better have a thorough understanding of it. If you’re counting on your ovulatory schedule so you can become pregnant, then you also should have a thorough understanding of it! Unfortunately, many women do not. Here are myths and truths about ovulation that every woman (and man) should know.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Myth: the magical 14th day

Many people believe that all women begin to ovulate 14 days after the first day of their periods. Plenty of women just count the little pills in their pill packet—14 after the first placebo—and think they’re good to go!

Signs You Should Get Tested For Early Menopause

September 26th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Should you get tested for early menopause?

Many of us assume that we won’t have to worry about menopause for quite some time. The average age for women entering it is 51, and anything before 40 is seen as uncommon. But for some women, menopause comes much earlier than that, even as early as your 30s.

Surprised? You’re not the only one. Early menopause is on the rise (and may happen to as many as one in 20 of us).

Experts say that many young women in early menopause are underdiagnosed. So if you experience any of these symptoms, it might be time to bring them up to your doctor. You may be one of the women for whom menopause is coming a lot earlier than planned.

Music Industry Publicist Yvette Gayle On Fertility Issues And Adoption

September 13th, 2016 - By Karen Taylor Bass
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Yvette Gayle

First, the facts: Nearly one million women in the United States are put on bed rest each year due to fertility issues and pregnancy complications that can result in pre-term birth. Three out of four Black women will be diagnosed as “high risk” leading to bed rest.

Yvette Gayle is the VP of publicity at Interscope/Geffen A&M Records and the lead strategist for all things 50 Cent and Mary J. Blige.  Although her career is enviable, her dream has always been to have a big family. But fertility issues, a miscarriage and bed rest forced her to press reset and renew.

“When I had a plan for what my life would be like, becoming a mother would be a piece of cake.  My first pregnancy was anything but textbook. I lost my daughter prematurely, at six  months. The loss took everything out of me, but I still wanted to try (again) and did,” says Gayle. Her second pregnancy proved more challenging. She was put on bed rest at 12 weeks, up until delivery. The pregnancy brought on myriad challenges: gestational diabetes, incompetent cervix and discovering her unborn child’s intestines were in the umbilical chord. Prayers worked and a healthy boy was delivered. The intestines were put back and all was well.

Gayle still wanted another child, but the risk of a third pregnancy would was too great for both mom and child. Yvette and her husband decided to adopt and a journey of patience, love and candles was borne.

Yvette chatted with MadameNoire exclusively about her RESET and rediscovering self in the process.

MadameNoire: What has been the lesson to date?

Yvette Gayle: You can plan all you want, however the universe also has plans for you.  I had to learn that plans can change and the outcome will be the same.

YG childrenPlease share the adoption process.

YG: I did not want my son to be an only child and adoption was the safest choice.  My hubby and I made the decision to adopt and the process took three years from start to finish. We chose Ethiopia because it was the only African country with a systematic adoption in place (at the time). Also, culturally my husband is Jamaican and there is a large population of Jamaicans in Ethiopia. Both cultures are similar as it relates to religion, family, etc.

What is the cost to adopt a child abroad?

YG:  Wow. The cost back then was $26,000, which includes: adoption agency fees, home study fees, fingerprinting, background check, court fee, international travel, international medical review, etc. That fee also includes our entire immediate family including son spending seven weeks in Capetown, South Africa to bond.

How old was your daughter when you adopted?

YG: She was a year old, however, she was matched with us when she was six months old. The kids are four years apart and the love is real.

Are there any agencies families should consider for adoption?

YG: Absolutely. My recommendation is the Children’s Home Society and Family Services.

How have you taken a moment to  find solace and work a full-time career?

YG: Ha. That is a great question and I had to press reset because I started to feel overwhelmed when the adoption was completed. I never took a moment to process my mental, spiritual and physical state. I had to press reset.

What was your RESET?

YG: I am so good at taking care of everyone else that I tend not to do anything for Yvette. When I was a teenager, I used to make candles to relax my brain and stay in the moment. Two years ago, I started attending a candle-making class, which only cost $20 and it helped to restore the calm back into my life. I now have a line of candles which is a celebration of my daughter Sitota coming into our family. The Sitota Collection is available online, sold in Nigeria and a favorite must-have for celebrities Adrienne Bailon, 50 Cent, Rachel Ray and Kenny Lattimore.

Yvette Gayle’s Reset Tip: Have the courage to believe in your journey even when the situation seems dire. Make certain you identify something/someone, which will help bring calm to your sphere as you go through the storm.


Karen Taylor Bass is a best-selling author. Follow her @thebrandnewmom.

If You’re Trying To Get Pregnant, Put Down The Liquor Now

September 2nd, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Many of us have heard stories of conception thanks to the “juice” that had people feeling loose. But a new study claims that alcohol can actually negatively affect a woman’s fertility.

In Denmark, researchers conducted a study to see how alcohol consumption affected participants’ ability to get pregnant. A total of 6,120 Danish women, aged 21 to 45, who were in relationships with men and trying to get pregnant were told by researchers to monitor their alcohol intake. And based on the responses to the supplied questionnaires, it was found that the fertility of women who drank less than 14 servings of alcohol per week were not affected (one drink has approximately 12 grams of alcohol.) On the other hand, women who drank more than 14 servings of alcohol per week, decreased their chances of conceiving by 18 percent, Broadly noted.

Ellen M. Mikkelsen, lead researcher of the study, pointed out that this observation isn’t a complete account of how alcohol affects a woman’s chances of getting pregnant because the study’s participants may have under-reported their weight and height, two factors that heavily influence fertility. “We can never know for sure. We know that women often underreport their weight and over-report their height. We validated our findings against a registered database, and it seems like Danish women are generally quite honest,” Mikkelsen said.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist’s stance on the matter also confirms Mikkelsen’s findings, as they advise, “Women should avoid alcohol entirely while pregnant or trying to conceive because damage can occur in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, even before a woman knows that she is pregnant.”

Mikkelsen concluded by noting that while the study needs more research on how alcohol affects a woman’s body, she believes hormonal changes caused by the vice influence the reproductive system.

Surprising Things That Affect Your Fertility

August 18th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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infertilityMany women don’t think about their fertility until there’s a problem. Some women think about it, but the only planning they think about is financial planning. And while it’s certainly true that your bank account needs to be ready if you plan on supporting a child, the most padded bank account cannot help you if you’ve harmed your fertility in the past. Most women know that doing drugs or suffering from an eating disorder can cause fertility problems later in life. It’s also common knowledge that certain STDs like chlamydia can lead to issues that make it difficult to conceive. But this knowledge has also led to the dangerous myth that only people with traumatic pasts and obviously unhealthy lifestyles can struggle to conceive, and that’s simply not true. Here are 15 surprising things that can affect your fertility.

Tia Mowry-Hardrict Says Endometriosis Has Made Attempt To Have A Second Child “A Challenge”

June 30th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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2016 BET Awards held at the Microsoft Theater - Arrivals Featuring: Tia Mowry-Hardrict Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 26 Jun 2016 Credit: FayesVision/

2016 BET Awards held at the Microsoft Theater – Arrivals
Featuring: Tia Mowry-Hardrict
Where: Los Angeles, California, United States
When: 26 Jun 2016
Credit: FayesVision/

Late last week, Tia Mowry-Hardrict and her husband Cory Hardrict celebrated the fifth birthday of their son, Cree. And as he continues to grow (along with his luscious hair), the topic of baby No. 2 keeps coming up. It’s not surprising when you consider that the actress has been talking about possibly bringing another child into the world for years now, and was even in a competition of sorts with sister, Tamera, to see who would give birth to their second child first. But as she revealed to People, an endometriosis diagnosis has made it harder than she would like to conceive a second time around.

“I do suffer from endometriosis,” the 37-year-old told the publication. “So there’s a little bit of a challenge there, but I will say this: I am working on my diet.” She went on to say that she hopes that changing her diet will help her “clean myself out and get rid of inflammation in my body.” Let Tia tell it, “endometriosis basically grows from inflammation.”

That doesn’t mean she and her husband have slowed down their attempts to have a second child. However, she does admit that she’s not trying to get her hopes up too high at this point.

“[We’re] trying, but I don’t want to put too much hope into it. I don’t want to be let down.”

With that in mind, what role does your diet play in such a disorder?

According to experts, it is true that a change in one’s diet can help with the symptoms of endometriosis. It can reduce your cramps, inflammation, estrogen levels, help move out toxins, boost your immune system, and balance your hormones. Less symptoms can mean less chance for endometriosis to progress further.

And according to, while some women deal with infertility because of endometriosis, with the right treatments (including laparoscopy), the possibility of getting pregnant increases. But fertility problems can increase as the severity of the disease increases, and as women with it get older.

There is no one known cause of endometriosis, but as pointed out by, “it is highly likely that certain genes predispose women to develop the disease.”

And according to UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology:

One idea is that when a woman has her period, some of the blood and tissue from her uterus travels out through the fallopian tubes and into the abdominal cavity. This is called retrograde menstruation. Another idea is that some cells in the body outside of the uterus can change to become the same kind of cells that line the uterus. This is a common explanation for endometriosis at unusual sites like the thumb or knee. Another possible explanation is that the cells from the lining of the uterus travel through the blood vessels or through the lymphatic system to reach other organs or body areas. Also, endometriosis can spread at the time of surgery. For example, a woman with endometriosis that undergoes a cesarean section could inadvertently have some endometriosis cells attach to the abdominal incision so that she has endometriosis in the scar from the surgery.

It reportedly impacts an estimated one in 10 women during reproductive years.

But with all that being said, I’m hopeful that Tia and Cory will be able to have another child, as previously mentioned, it’s something she’s openly spoken about wanting for a while. And considering that there are women who’ve had children after endometriosis diagnoses and dealing with a wide variety of symptoms, it’s very possible.


How I Battled Fibroids, Cysts, Endometriosis, And PCOS To Eventually Birth To Two Healthy Babies

June 13th, 2016 - By madamenoire
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Helen Marcus Stephens

Helen Stephens

By Helen Stephens

My 20s were not at all consumed by a desire for babies. While other women my age were overwhelmed with baby fever and contemplating the names of their future children, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted kids. I considered the possibility of starting a family, but figured if I wanted kids, I had plenty of time. The beauty of youth is that you truly believe you’re invincible. You live with almost unwavering certainty that tomorrow is promised. You believe that all your plans for life will pan out the way you expect. I was no exception. I hadn’t considered that my body being at war with the fibroids, cysts, and endometriosis that were wreaking havoc on my reproductive system might mean I didn’t have nearly as much time as I thought.

All the signs were there that there was a serious problem. I was on a cocktail of medications to treat the symptoms of my diseases and was constantly sick, suffering with incredible pain from the fibroids and cysts that had invaded my body. My skin was breaking out. My internal flora seemed to be completely out of balance and I was making frequent visits to the pharmacy to treat recurring yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. I knew this couldn’t be normal. Frustrated and confused by my symptoms, I asked the pharmacist if I might be experiencing side effects from the medications. What she told me sent me directly to my doctor. There, I received a new diagnosis – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). At 25 years old, I had a running list of reproductive disorders that would prove to be one of the biggest challenges of my life.

With a new treatment plan, I continued to live my life and advance my career. Five years later, the implications of my diagnoses suddenly dawned on me. After my thirtieth birthday, I began to think about marriage and kids. I was ready to do all the things I’d put off in my 20s. However, my troubled reproductive health loomed terrifyingly in front of me. I’d been under the knife several times to cut away the cysts, fibroids and endometrial tissue that were growing around my uterus and ovaries, and the conversations with my doctors weren’t reassuring.

Thoughts of my sister’s struggle with endometriosis and the fact that she started her family years before me began weighing on my mind. But it was news from my mother that really pushed me — she was also dealing with reproductive problems and would likely need to have a hysterectomy. Any doubt I had about having children completely dissolved; I wanted children, and I wanted them immediately. I was single when I had this revelation, but I wasn’t going to put my desire for children on hold to wait for Prince Charming. Working in the field of reproductive health and fertility gave me unique insight into the options available for me. I’ve always been a forward thinking woman and the idea of being a single mother did not scare me. However, whether I was waiting for him or not, my Prince Charming showed up in a Chicago restaurant one night to sweep me off my feet.

Only fate could have been responsible for our meeting. I’d flown out to Chicago for a work conference that I almost had to miss due to yet another surgery. Marcus was in town because he had plane tickets that had to be used that weekend or they would expire. When he and a friend of his approached my group of girlfriends, it was the advances of his tipsy friend I declined. In his anger, the friend stormed off leaving Marcus behind. We exchanged business cards, but when I called him, he was too busy to see me. When he called me back a month later, he got a cool response. However, he warmed me up with a winning sense of humor, his cultural and spiritual awareness, and our shared interest in books and events. A year later, we were engaged and sitting in my OBGYN’s office discussing our options for having children.

It’s hard to describe the feeling that gripped my heart when she told us just how severe my fertility issues were. Sitting there, I came face-to-face with the fact that I might never be able to conceive or carry my own children. It was a blow I probably should have expected, but it floored me all the same. We were advised to see a fertility specialist to weigh all our options. Marcus and I spoke to a number of specialists and researchers and did our own research, poring over every article we could get our hands on. I’d been careful about my eating and exercise, practiced yoga and meditation to manage the symptoms of my endometriosis, PCOS and fibroids and sought spiritual and emotional support because it was important to me to treat my issues holistically.

I also leaned heavily on the people in my life who shared my pain. A close friend who also suffered with infertility and never gave birth to her own children, was a huge support. I poured out my fears and my heartache to her. My mother and sister offered me much needed love and empathy. I also became incredibly close to Marcus’ mother, who adopted him when she found out in her 30s that she was unable to conceive. It was so important for me to be connected with another Black woman who had walked the path I was stumbling down, knowing not just the physical and emotional struggle, but the weight of the cultural stigma around infertility in our community. And, of course, Marcus, who could always be found standing steadfastly by my side, giving me his full support every step of the way. With yet another surgery scheduled to remove a sizable ovarian cyst, tragedy struck again: my father was dying of cancer. I was heartbroken and knew I had to go see him for what might be the last time. I arranged to postpone the surgery against my doctor’s stern warnings that I might do irreparable damage
to my ovaries by waiting. But I needed to see my father.

Even with cancer claiming 90% of his brain, as I sat by his bedside, my father found the strength to encourage me to stay hopeful and to visualize the children I wanted. His death broke my heart, but his words renewed my hope. I returned to New Jersey, prepared to have the surgery I’d postponed. I was ready to believe that this surgery would be the one that would help us get pregnant.

Prior to surgery, I was struck with incredible pain. I imagined the worst. I’d disobeyed the doctor’s orders and now I’d compromised my ovaries and any chance of conceiving. We rushed to the doctor and after running a bevy of tests, she returned with a result that was completely unexpected: a positive pregnancy test. If I had the planned surgery, I would have lost my baby.

Nine months and one surgery later, I gave birth to a little girl with a dimpled smile that could light up an entire room. We named her Summer, for the new season and the sunshine she brought into our lives. Nineteen months later, I delivered a healthy baby boy, named Miles for the way he danced in my womb to the Miles Davis records I love.

Had anyone told me a few years before they were born that I would have conceived and birthed two children, I would have had my doubts. They are the lights of my life and my proudest accomplishment. My happiest moments are the ones I spend with my husband and children, reading and praying at night.

The joy I get from my family puts a warmth in my heart that begs to be shared. I want for every woman who is suffering with infertility to know that the children they desire are not an impossible dream. I’ve worked in the field of infertility for over 10 years, and I’ve seen so many women either unaware of the options that are available to them or afraid to take them for fear of being judged. African-American women like myself, and our Latina sisters are often afraid to explore their options because of the stigma that surrounds fertility treatments in our communities. Their hearts and spirits need as much treatment as their bodies do. I started Oshun Fertility specifically for women of African and Latina descent to provide them with not just the medical treatments for infertility, but the emotional and spiritual support that helped me through my own doubt and pain. Because these women deserve to know that what seems like a nightmare can end in a dream come true. My life, my family, are a testament to that.